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Mar 8, 2013

Suarez rewarded with pay rise - reports

Luis Suarez has been rewarded with a pay rise that will see him earning in excess of £100,000-a-week at Liverpool, according to several newspapers reports.

• Blog: January signings give hope

Suarez, 26, agreed a new long-term contract with Liverpool last summer, with reports suggesting the deal doubled his previous wages from £40,000-a-week to £80,000-a-week.

And that income has increased further, reports the Times and Telegraph among others, as the Uruguay international has benefited from incentive-based terms in his deal - as part of an initiative by owners Fenway Sports Group.

It is claimed the striker, who has scored 21 goals in 27 Premier League appearances this season, will earn more than £100,000-a-week in light of his excellent form for the Reds.

Suarez signed at Anfield from Ajax for £22 million in January 2011 and has recently been linked with a switch away from the club, amid reported interest from a number of sides. But Liverpool will hope the reported pay rise will reinforce the forward's commitment on Merseyside.

According to Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, Suarez is now a changed man looking to put his reputation for controversy behind him.

His two years in England have been as notable for trouble as for his talent. He received an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra during a Premier League match in October 2011, and had repeatedly been accused of diving. In addition, he was at the centre of controversy when he scored a goal after a clear handball during Liverpool's 2-1 FA Cup third-round win at Mansfield in January.

Rodgers believes that Suarez's will to win is a key part of what makes him a successful player. And those who have worked closely with the Uruguay international have vouched for the fact that he is just as competitive on the training pitch.

He said: "His consistency this year has been phenomenal. He is a remarkable man. What I have admired from close hand is this is a guy who is trying to change. He has come in here and been labelled many things - sometimes, maybe, because he is a foreign player he will get accused more.

"If a British player dives, we'll laugh and find it funny. But when it's Luis Suarez, he is a diver. But this is a guy who is trying to turn around his life and adapt to the culture and you can clearly see that."

Darren Burgess, Liverpool's former head of fitness and conditioning, gave a fascinating insight into Suarez's character when he left the club in September last year. Burgess recalled playing in a training game and being on the end of some ferocious challenges from the forward.

"Luis Suarez's training intensity is unlike anything I've ever worked with," Burgess said at the time. "He just cannot lose. He booted the hell out of me. I looked angrily at him, but he just gesticulated as if to say: 'When you are on the field, you are one of us.'"

Rodgers believes that intensity is what makes Suarez such a special player. And he revealed that the 26-year-old managed to score a hat-trick in last Saturday's 4-0 win at Wigan despite carrying an injury.

He said: "He was struggling a bit with an injury last weekend, believe it or not, and nine out of 10 players wouldn't have played but his threshold for pain is so high. He wanted to play and to have someone like that in your team gives you great hope, and gives great inspiration to other players because he really wants to win for Liverpool."

Rodgers also believes Suarez can go on to break Robbie Fowler's Liverpool record of 28 goals in a Premier League campaign.

The manager said: "He's got 10 games to go. The thing with Luis is that he's really, really hungry. I would expect him over these last 10 games to certainly go close to it. If you're talking football, his consistency this year has been phenomenal."

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